As Congress refines its energy bill and discusses the need to step away from Corn as the darling of the alternative fuel set oil hit a 10-month high today and summer driving is in full-effect. The combination of all those factors makes for a pretty murky pool and not necessarily one I want to go swimming in. So instead we will just skim the surface here.
Congress was convinced by someone during their debates that, although corn is still king, it is not quite the most efficient alternative fuel source available. And even though it is a viable option outside of foreign oil it still is not a far enough improvement on environmental issues as an alternative fuel needs to be. Futures experts are expecting a bountiful corn harvest this year as ethanol demand has risen, but the shared view among Congress and Economists is that it would be nearly impossible for Farmers to keep up the supply of Corn as it relates to the ever-increasing demand for fuel.
Then there is the rising cost of Oil and the closing of refineries. Oil closed today at $71.41 a barrel thanks in a large part to the U.S. consumption of fuel for summer driving. In deference to prior concerns over the importing of oil from oil producing nations the rising cost in oil now is due to refinery issues. Oil refineries all over the U.S. have been hit by one travesty after another over the past few years. Refineries in New Orleans are limping forward after the effects of Katrina. California refineries have been effected by fires over the years while other American refineries have been shut down by internal fires and recent flooding as in Kansas just this past week. Even the Alaskan pipeline is either out of commission or running at a fraction of the capacity. So when everything seems to be going against you what is the next best option some may wonder?
The greatest defense against rising costs of fuel is to seek alternative means of travel that run off other energies (like say… Calories?) or in reducing travel all together. There are a number of driving tips available online to help drivers reduce their waste in fuel: from car-pools to well planned errand runs. Like all good things a bit of moderation can go a long way in sustaining the good feeling that is associated to them. Take a moment to think about your own fuel consumption and maybe analyze the means by which you can cut down on your own fuel costs. Walking is not a permanent solution to the alternative fuel debate but it will give you some more time to think about it.